French and Malian troops have surrounded Timbuktu and are aiming to secure the city after seizing the airport. A senior military officer reported they met no resistance.
There are reports of rebels setting fire to homes and thousands of priceless manuscripts and also handing out beatings to residents as they fled the city.
The operation comes a day after celebrations in Gao as Islamist militants were driven out of the town.
The ancient city of Timbuktu has been one of the bastions of the al Qaeda-allied fighters who have controlled the north for 10 months.
Two displaced residents gave their reaction. “I’m really glad to hear about Timbuktu because we haven’t had news for four days, networks are cut. We really worry for parents who are there. I welcome this very good news,” said one.
Another added: “Frankly, if they secure the city today, I am ready to return immediately to Timbuktu. French troops must not leave us alone then because those Islamists who fled may come back and cause problems for us. French troops have to stay a bit to stabilise the place.”
The African Union is meeting to discuss sending more troops while the French Foreign Minister, Laurent Fabius reacted with claims that, “little by little Mali is being liberated”.
Military experts though fear the rebels could carry on a hit-and-run style guerrilla campaign.
- 1Snowden, Assange and Manning statues unveiled in Berlin | euronews, world news
- 2Chomsky says US is world’s biggest terrorist | euronews, the global conversation
- 3euronews live TV - News | euronews : the latest international news as video on demand
- 4Nepal: ‘equally big earthquakes coming in eastern regions,’ expert tells euronews | euronews, world news
- 5It’s a girl: Britain’s Duchess of Cambridge gives birth in London | euronews, world news
- 6How Nepal earthquake devastated Kathmandu’s UNESCO heritage | euronews, world news
- 7Chernobyl Children: what makes Ukrainians born in 1986 different? | euronews, world news
- 8Juncker to Hungarian PM Orban: “Hello, Dictator!”
- 9International breaking news | euronews online world breaking news in video
- 10Exclusive: unrest in FYR Macedonia could hit other Balkan countries warns Serbian PM | euronews, world news
- 11Evidence of ancient wine found in Georgia a vintage quaffed some 6,000 years BC
- 12Andrea Ferrari: the graphene guru | euronews, science
- 13International tv news | euronews: European and International tv news bulletin
- 14Portuguese language reform law goes global | euronews, world news
- 15EU membership remains Serbia’s priority, says PM Aleksandar Vucic | euronews, the global conversation
- 16Watch: France’s Jean-Marie Le Pen clashes with UKIP MEP Woolfe | euronews, world news
- 17Spain: the viral soldiers fighting in Madrid and Barcelona mayoral races | euronews, world news
- 18How young translators are helping knit European culture together | euronews, generation y
- 19eurovibes - a selection of Europe’s best music talent
- 20We will not be moved! China’s urban spread resistance [PHOTOS]
Wires > News
- 11:42 CET Insight – Unable to halt Europe-bound migrants, Tripoli demands…
- 11:06 CET One killed in rebel shelling of east Ukraine town, coke plant…
- 10:43 CET Greece will not make June IMF repayment – interior minister
- 10:24 CET One Ukrainian civilian killed, two wounded in Avdiyivka shelling -…
- 10:04 CET Women activists cross DMZ to mixed reception on South Korean side
- 09:21 CET Mass graves of suspected trafficking victims found in Malaysia
- 09:07 CET Analysis – The European centre-left’s quandary
- 08:02 CET Rohingya Muslims found on boat rescued by Myanmar navy